Lecturer hosts book discussion on ‘Black Fortunes’

Ben Shirani, Staff Writer

Senior lecturer and Director of African American Studies Karla Broadus partnered with the San Antonio Public Library’s Igo Branch to support Black History Month, presenting a lecture on a new book by black author Shomari Wills on Wednesday, Feb. 12.

Broadus’s lecture generally covered black history and focused specifically on a recent book by Wills titled “Black Fortunes: The Story of the First Six African Americans Who Escaped Slavery and Became Millionaires,” published in 2018.

Broadus has coordinated with the Igo Library’s Assistant Manager Gamini Haluwana for the past two years to talk with library constituents about the book during Black History Month.

Haluwana is responsible for coordinating the library’s adult services, like lectures and events commemorating Black History Month in February, Asian American Month in May and Women’s History Month in March.

“We have a lot of people who come to this branch, but especially families, so we have kids’ programs in the morning Tuesday and Thursday: story time, baby time and toddler time. There is no age limit for getting a library card, and it is free for residents of Bexar County.”

In addition to directing the African American Studies Program, part of the Department of Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and Sexuality Studies within UTSA’s College of Education and Human Development, Broadus is currently teaching AAS 2113, called African American Culture, Leadership and Social Issues.

“The majority of my time at UTSA — I’ve been teaching there since 1996 — has been in literacy. I was originally working in the teacher education program, teaching children’s literature and teaching [educators] to be teachers [and] how to teach reading.”

Broadus describes the courses offered by the African American Studies program, where she now teaches, as a critical approach traditional curriculum intended to accentuate the often overlooked or underplayed role of African Americans.

Broadus actively promotes awareness of black history and is currently the chairperson for UTSA’s MLK March and MLK Day.

“Friday, I am going to do a storytelling at a school using an African Cinderella story: Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters.”

Broadus will be giving a talk at St. Philips Episcopal Church on Feb. 29 to the San Antonio black community on financial wellness planning.